I have this old ATMEL programmer and I'm hoping to start learning about micro controllers on a lower level before I move to Arduino.

Unfortunately the floppy disk that came with it is lost, and the chip (red arrow in the picture) is sanded off. and it's not possible to contact the person who made it.

What software do i have to use? I'm fairly capable in ASM but i dont know how to transfer the program to the microcontroller.

Can i use USB-to-LPT converter? or i have to find an old pc with a LPT port to use this prehistoric relic?

Front side

Back side

  • \$\begingroup\$ It would probably be less work and expense to drop this thing like a hot potato and just go full AVR via ISP. Plus you won't have to relearn much (and possibly not even pick up new hardware) when you decide to go Arduino. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2015 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm only doing this as a hobby, I can't buy anything online (my country is under embargo), so i have to work with what i have, so diy and opensource are the only options now. @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2015 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


I don't think that this chip (with erased markings) does anything clever. In fact, it looks pretty much like 74HC244.

Parallel to USB converters do exist, but I don't think they are worth the trouble. You can buy an ISP programmer, which are extremely cheap these days, and wire it directly to the microcontroller pins.

Another alternative would be to use a bit-bang programmer. They are typically based on FTDI FT232RL USB to serial converter. They are quite easy to build and can also be used for UART communications between your PC and the microcontroller.

edit: You can use ProgISP software to see if it works with your board, which supports parallel port programming (if you can find a motherboard with LPT port of course). However you might need to reconfigure the parallel port pins corresponding to the data lines (MISO, MOSI, SCK and RST). If you are lucky, it will work with default settings.

I haven't worked with the classic series of Atmel MCUs, but I believe that any programmer that supports 8051 will work with your chip. Search for '8051 USB programmer' - I'm pretty sure you'll be able to buy one locally.

  • \$\begingroup\$ avrdude doesn't support MCS-51-based MCUs. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2015 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I wasn't aware of that. Although it is possible, but requires altering avrdude configuration (and probably altering firmware as well). \$\endgroup\$
    – v.m.
    Apr 26, 2015 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually don't have the option to buy anything online because 1- Our credit cards don't work online 2- My country is on embargo list 3- No one actually delivers to my country. Do i have to build a programmer myself? or the one in the picture can work with some software? (ie: is it a standard programmer that everyone knows how it works, or it will not work without the original software because it's specialized in some way?) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2015 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have edited my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – v.m.
    Apr 27, 2015 at 16:06

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